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Vitamin D: Blacks need much more

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3:10pm, December 16, 2007

The sunshine vitamin offers a broad range of benefits—from boosting bone and muscle strength to offering protection against cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, the diet is a poor source of vitamin D, and dark skin filters out much of the sun's vitamin-producing ultraviolet light. To achieve healthy concentrations of vitamin D, therefore, many African-American women may need hefty daily supplements, a new study finds.

Researchers at the Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., recruited 208 postmenopausal black women for a 3-year trial during which half received large daily doses of vitamin D.

Increasingly, nutrition scientists advocate at least 75 nanomoles of vitamin D per liter of blood as a minimum target value for health, notes John F. Aloia, an endocrinologist and coauthor of the study.

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